‘We’ve learned how resilient nature is’: Animals recovering from California fires get a little help
This year, Axel Hunnicutt ran through burning forests, slogged through streams, and hiked steep mountain terrain trying to find seven black bears injured in Siskiyou County’s Lava and Antelope fires. One he never found. Five were healthy enough to evade him from capturing them. The seventh — a 16-pound hamburger-eating cub dubbed Smokey Junior — went home with him. Hunnicutt is a California Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist specializing in carnivores. He and the CDFW are part of the Wildlife Disaster Network, a coalition of University of California at Davis vets and other professionals saving animals from this year’s history-making wildfires.